Lewisham Market

I didn’t even know that it was Love your Local Market fortnight when I visited Lewisham Market last week. The main drawback to visiting Lewisham is that it is pedestrian unfriendly. Well at least until you get to the market itself. If arriving by public transport, at the station, the first thing you see is a huge traffic island. To motivate you to continue your journey there is a large painted turquoise wall sign with the words shop, enjoy, shopping on the far side of the island. It also has pastel yellow and pink flowers reminiscent of film credits from a 1960s Doris Day film. Once past the roundabout you come across the largest police station in Europe. I have heard jokes that it’s so big it can be seen from space. It is on the site of a former Army & Navy department store.

Lewisham Police Station

Lewisham Police Station

Lewisham Clock Tower is at the eastern end of the market. It was erected to commemorate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1897. The exact date when the market started isn’t clear but it does date back to 1903. There are very few remnants left of the old market or town just the Clock Tower and the Co-Operative building which is now a gym. The town centre was devastated by a flying bomb in 1944. The present Lewisham Shopping Centre was built in 1977. Here and there are odd pieces of “Parisian Style” street furniture which just adds to the cacophony of the place. Despite this the market itself is vibrant.

Parisian street furniture

Parisian street furniture

No matter when you visit, and it is open Monday to Saturday, it is busy. I have been there on Monday and been astounded at the number of people shopping. There are a range of stalls selling fruit and vegetables, fish, clothes and hardware. Close by is Genaro’s Delicatessen which is one of Time Out London’s best food shops. A friend of mine, originally from Sardinia, berated me for buying supermarket own brand pasta. A practice I have since stopped. She only buys her pasta from Genaro’s. The two Turkish restaurants are also good.

Markets can be more than simply a place to shop they are an opportunity to see a slice of everyday life and culture. The Love your Local Market fortnight is nearly over but I have decided that it would be good to visit other markets along the Thames.

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